He was born in Novosibirsk. His parents were musicians. His mother was a singer who was the director of a children’s orphanage. His father was the first oboist of the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. He started to learn the violin when he was five. When he was seven he went to Moscow with his grandparents and teacher to study at The Central Special Music School, a specialist school which was linked with the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
At the age of ten, after his grandfather became ill, the family went back to Novosibirsk, where Maxim studied with Zakhar Bron. He was still only ten when he won the Junior Wieniawski violin competition. At the age of 11, he played at the opening concert of the Eighth Tchaikovsky competition. When Bron left Russia in 1987 to teach at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Vengerov and his mother followed him there. They also followed Bron when he moved to Lübeck to open a school there.
In 1990, Vengerov and his family emigrated to Israel where his father continued his profession as an orchestral oboist in Israel. Vengerov took Israeli citizenship and served for a short time in the Israeli Army.
At age 15, Vengerov won the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition in London. He soon became very famous. He gave concerts, master classes, and recording contracts. He played as a representative of UNICEF and performed in Africa for charity.
In 2008 Vengerov announced that he was taking a break from his violin career to focus on teaching and conducting.
- Matthew Gurewitsch (12 August 2001). "A Bravura Violinist Who Loves...Schubert?". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9502E2DD1F3CF931A2575BC0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-04-08.